Buffalo vs. Charlotte: Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl fearless prediction, game preview, bowl history.
Buffalo vs. Charlotte: Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl Broadcast
Buffalo (7-5) vs. Charlotte (7-5) Game Preview
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Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The Makers Wanted Bahamas Bowl Bowl
– It’s the opening act of Bowlapalooza, and of course you want to be a part of it on a Friday afternoon. These two teams are going to care, and they’re both going to put up four quarter fights. There aren’t a bunch of personnel losses to get ready for the NFL. There aren’t coaching changes. There are two decent teams that play interesting brands of football. Charlotte was third in Conference USA in total offense, and Buffalo led the MAC in total defense.
– If nothing else, you can use this bowl game as a nerdy trivia question at parties to make yourself look cooler than you actually are. What is Makers Wanted? Is it a blended whiskey? It’s certainly not a lovely chicken restaurant – sky point to the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. No, it’s a slogan for an industrial park in suburban Chicago called Elk Grove Village.
– Again, these two are going to care, because the winner will do something historic. Charlotte has only been playing football since 2013, and this is the program’s first bowl game. Buffalo has been to three bowl games and lost them all, including last year’s Dollar General to Troy, 42-32. So, of course, the winner takes home its first ever bowl win.
CFN Podcast: Bahamas and Frisco Bowl discussion and predictions
Why Buffalo Will Win
– The Bulls lead the MAC in total defense with a run defense that’s fourth in the nation. Liberty is the only team to throw for more than 300 yards against this D, and no one has been able to hit the 200-yard mark on the ground. Charlotte needs to run the ball well to win – it’s 1-5 when it fails to crank out 230 yards. Ohio ran for 186 yards against UB – that was the worst performance so far by the Bull D.
– There’s Chuba Hubbard, Jonathan Taylor, JK Dobbins, and AJ Dillon. Those four running backs lead the nation in rushing. No. 5? UB sophomore Jaret Patterson a tough 5-9, 195-pound slasher who ran for 1,626 yards and 17 touchdowns, closing out the regular season with 192 yards and four scores in the win over Toledo, and a 298-yard day and six touchdowns in the blowout win over Bowling Green. Buffalo is 4-0 when Patterson runs for two touchdowns or more.
– The key to that top UB defense is a devastating pass rush that comes in waves. The Bulls were able to come up with four sacks ore more in a stretch of six straight games over the second half of the season. Throw in the Buffalo offensive line that’s among the strongest in the nation in pass protection – and what it does for Patterson – and the team is fantastic in the trenches.
Why Charlotte Will Win
– Yeah, Buffalo has a killer pass rush, but Charlotte has the blocking scheme to at least not get destroyed. Senior left tackle Cameron Clark leads a terrific group that’s been strong in pass protection and pounded away for the best running game in Conference USA. The 49ers should be able to hold its own and stay even with the Bull defensive front for most of the game, and the other side of the line is terrific, too. Charlotte has a pass rush that’s among Conference USA’s best, because …
– Alex Highsmith might be the best player you haven’t seen. The deadly 6-4, 242-pound all-star defensive end put together a special year, using his tremendous quickness and closing speed to finish with 14 sacks and 21.5 tackles for loss, coming off a 17.5 tackle for loss season. He’s not alone on a defensive front with a whole lot of good young talent around its senior star.
– The 49ers are able to grind out the clock. Buffalo doesn’t have a high-powered offense when it’s not running the ball well, so it lives on time of possession – it holds the ball for over 34 minutes per game. Charlotte is terrific at controlling the tempo, too, keeping its offense on the field for a C-USA high 32:25 per game. The is an unclutch – if that can be a word – Buffalo team in key moments in big games over the last few years. The more Charlotte has the ball, the more UB will press.